NBC4?s ?iReporter? lacks context on wind energy sound

Any time a debate regarding the intangible “cost” of wind power arises, it’s important to remember that wind energy emits no pollution, creates no hazardous waste, and uses virtually no water. All of these advantages are good for human health and wildlife, and they are not shared by any non-renewable energy source.

With respect to the sound levels generated by modern turbines, typically, two people can carry on a conversation at normal voice levels even while standing at the base of a turbine. As a non-polluting energy source, wind power is essential to reducing public health impacts from the energy sector. Further, independent studies conducted around the world have consistently found that sound from wind farms has no direct impact on physical health.

At distances of 1,000 feet or more, sounds from wind turbines fall well below existing standards previously established for other types of equipment (see "WINDPOWER report: New study finds minimal low-frequency and infrasound impact from wind turbines," May 25, 2011) and are lower than ambient sound in a typical home or office. While some people–particularly those who dislike the appearance of wind turbines–may find the sound of some turbines annoying up close, thousands of people around the world and across America live near or within wind farms without concern.

While there are a noisy few who oppose wind power, public support for it remains strong. Wind energy bolsters America’s economy through a supply chain of hundreds of manufacturing plants and more than 2,500 companies investing in all stages of American wind power. As families across our country struggle with unemployment, and as businesses are cutting back just to survive, it’s past time for Congress to focus its ideas and efforts on proposals that will create jobs and get our economy moving again. Extending the Production Tax Credit for wind power and other forms of renewable energy generation is one of the best ways to spur economic development and create the good jobs we need while at the same time benefiting public health.

By Kevin Haley, www.awea.org/blog/